Monday, February 28, 2011

Relax is a State of the Mind

Once again, the question about being relaxed comes up. I have written before that being relaxed is a state of mind. When your mind is relaxed, you don't have the "fight or flight" mentality, and thus you are able to see more options (other than the two basic ones). This mentality manifests itself in your body, in that your body doesn't stiffen up from tension. Your body is thus relaxed, and when your opponent moves, you are able to sense his movement (direction and magnitude) and through a relaxed state of mind, see the options available to counter his movement.

A common mistake is to equate the relaxed body to mean a relaxed state of mind. When the mind is all tensed up trying to tell the body to relax, the body is necessarily going to be the opposite. So the more tensed up your mind is trying to get your body to relax, the harder it is to relax. And then it becomes easy to fall into the trap of "letting go (or going limp)" aka "丢". It becomes a vicious cycle because going limp won't stop your opponent, so your mind become more tensed.

So being relaxed starts with the mind, and that is why taiji is so focused on using intention, "用意不用力".When your mind is relaxed, your body will listen to your mind's commands instead of reacting to instincts, and you are then in control of the situation to change it to suit your needs.

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